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What is Domestic Violence? 

Domestic violence, or intimate partner violence, is a pattern of abusive behaviors used by one partner to exert and maintain power and control over the other person in a romantic relationship. Domestic violence affects people of any race, age, sexuality, religion, or socioeconomic status. Abusive behaviors can include using intimidation, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, isolating someone from their support systems, gaslighting, financial control, manipulation, threats, and other things that cause harm.


Domestic violence does not necessarily occur in the home and can happen in dating relationships as well as long-term committed relationships. Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience abuse in a dating relationship each year. Abusive relationships during teens years can put youth at higher risk for developing negative health outcomes in the future.


Some warning signs for relationship abuse include:

  • Tells you that you can never do anything right

  • Discourages you or shows extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away

  • Insults, demeans or shames you with put-downs

  • Controls all money spent in the household, takes your money, or refuses to give you money

  • Acts in ways that scare you

  • Controls who you see, where you go, or what you do

  • Prevents you from making your own decisions

  • Tells you that you are a bad parent or threatens to harm or take away your children

  • Prevents you from working or attending school

  • Destroys your property or threatens to hurt pets

  • Intimidates you with guns, knives or other weapons

  • Pressures you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with

  • Pressures you to use drugs or alcohol


To get more information about domestic/dating violence to help yourself or someone else in your life, call or text the regional EmpowerNet Hotline at 804-612-6126. If you would like to request an educational workshop on this topic, please fill out this form.

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